Thursday, June 30, 2011

Half the Year in Review

Thanks Emily @ Sweat Once a Day. I am stealing your idea! Oooorrr, did you steal my idea since I did this last year? ;)

Regardless, thanks for the reminder :)

Hard to believe that half of 2011 is over, but its been quite the productive year and so far (knock on wood) an injury free year. So here is a quick recap of each month so far this year.

I guess the biggest things that got the year going were 2 things. #1: Started off with my coach, Eric Hodska. #2 I got to know my new coach by cleansing my body through his crazy cleanse diet.

This was my breakfast for 2 weeks

This was my dinner for two weeks
I lost 8 pounds in 2 weeks. And I was one angry bitter guy by the end of it. But! It got me light and lean for this season. I also grew a craving for red wind that has yet to stop.

Compared to previous years, 2011 is actually a light racing year in terms of number of races. I am making it up by going looooooong. But my first race of the year was the NYRR Gridiron 4 Miler in Central Park. I PR'ed the distance by not meaning to PR it.

You all made fun of me for wearing running pants!
Then you all continued to make fun of me for trying out a snorkel.
I really do bring it upon myself.... ;)

March meant sorta getting outdoors, even though my poor feet froze on my bike rides on the weekends.

It also meant learning how to make my own peanut butter.

And it also meant a 15K race in Central Park, which I PR'ed by a good 10 minutes.
I wore tights this time to save the jokes for later.
April brought out the beginning of Tri Texas. I did the Ironman Texas 70.3 in beautiful Galveston. I met the LEGENDARY Jeff @ Dangle the Carrot and his super lovely wife, Annie (she did her first sprint tri that weekend).

I thought Jeff was 7 feet tall! Guess the internet adds 12 inches?

I wound up PR'ing this distance, bringing my HIM time down a few more minutes to almost breaking 5 hours. Next time, HIM! Next time!!

Nothing on the racing front happened in May, but it was a great time to put my head down and get some uber consistent training time in, especially on the bike, without the interruptions of racing.

This meant I went to up Lake Placid for my first training camp and put some serious training in.

I may or may not have burned my arms to a crisp....

Time for triathlon #2! I did the Tri Ridgefield Sprint, my first sprint in two years. Despite training for long course, I wound up having the fastest race, and BEST race of my life!

Rounded out the month by attending training camp #2, this time with my coach. He beat the crap out of us all, but we gained huge amounts of confidence in abilities we didn't know existed.

Funny how the first half year is always the busiest part of the year, and things will fade out from here. I have almost 3 weeks until Placid, and then after that is the NYC Marathon in November (seems years away still...) and then thats it!

For you numbers nerds (like me), this is what I have racked up in 6 months:
Swimming: 191,594 yards
Biking: 2970.47 miles
Running: 795.59 miles

Don't expect me to double that! haha!

Monday, June 27, 2011

I have to apologize for a previous post. THIS is actually how you train for an Ironman

WTF was I thinking when I wrote THIS POST?!?!? "In case you wanted to know what training for an Ironman looks like."

Cuz that was NOT what training for an Ironman looks like. Keep reading, and you will REALLY see what training for an Ironman looks like.

I spent 5 days in Lake Placid at my coach's training camp. There were maybe a dozen of us campers (I wrecked the age curve by a good 10+ years), but the smaller the group, the better, especially when you are with YOUR COACH who is the brain behind the plan. This means you get a lot of one on one time where he can address YOUR issues.

I will keep this as brief as possible.

Arrived, quickly unpacked and we were in the water for 1.2 miles of Mirror Lake. Bam. Done. Dinner.

7AM: 2 hour trail run. Coach E is all about adventure. Mother nature all weekend was all about rain. Well I like rain cuz it keeps me cool and I can go faster. We did a 12 mile run which included quite the ascent to Avalanche Lake.

Looks like we jumped off a cliff at the top!

Eat, cleanup, BIKE: We did one loop of the bike course minus the out and back section. Coach grouped us up and we did Indian sprints on the bike. Boy did we cover the flats of Route 9A in record time!

Eat, cleaup, SWIM: Swam the entire buoy line this time, which is longer than the actual course for 1.6 miles.

Eat, cleanup (shower this time), DINNER. Slept hard....

This day can only be described as epic and as the hardest 75 miles of my cycling career. I have climbed Mt. Ventoux two times. That is by far the biggest and steepest climb I have ever done. So I know what a serious Hors Category climb is. But! That is all I did on those two seperate occasions. 15.5 miles of climbing and done. This day? We climbed Whiteface (8 miles @ 8%, 3500 feet of elevation),

It was SO foggy AND cold at the top of Whiteface!
THEN! we did a bit extra (as in chase after my 8 time Kona completer coach) THEN we did a backwards loop of the course. For those of you who don't know about the Lake Placid course, there is the Keene Descent, which is a 5.5 mile freebie screaming downhill. You can hit 50+ going down that thing! Guess what it is like climbing it? After 4 hours of riding which included 8 miles @ 8%? It SUUUUUUUUUCKS! I think I got my first gray hair on that ride....

I immediately got into some dry clothes and marched down to the Downtown Diner for food. I was freaking hungry!!!


The waiter was impressed.

Cleaned up, then 2.4 mile swim. This is actually the longest I have ever swam either open water or in the pool. It honestly wasn't that bad. My brain hurt by the end. Could have been the three head on collisions with the idiots who were on the wrong buoy line coming back to shore or my goggles were squeezing my head by the end of it. 1:10:00. Not bad considering this was open water swim #3 in 3 days and it was after the hardest and hilliest 75 miler of my life...

So the legs are shot. Sitting down on the saddle is now a joke. What does Coach have us do? Just ride 112 miles or the ENTIRE Lake Placid course on the bike then drop an hour run in some hilly trails. Remember how I mentioned the rain? I got dumped on for the first 56 miles and froze even in arms and knee warmers and vest and hat, so much so that I did a complete change of clothes for loop #2. Then the fucking sun came out and roasted me on the 2nd loop when I am wearing a thicker vest! hahaha!

The best part of the day was towards the end of the 2nd loop when these dudes past me. Somehow they mentioned to me, "yeah, we did 2 loops yesterday, but only one today." I could see their egos knocking me off the bike. I calmly responded with, "We did Whiteface and rode the course backwards yesterday, then we are doing 2 loops today." Their jaws dropped. WIN! Their egos suddenly popped...

This was not the fastest 112 of my life, but the fact that I got it in after what we had done in so far, I was patting myself on the back.

The brick run sucked at first, but Coach led us onto some awesome trails and my legs finally opened up and I completely forgot that I had just ridden 112 miles. Hoping for this on race day!

2.5 hour run. This actually turned out to be the easiest day. Yeah, it hurt, cuz everything was adding up at this point, but I guess 2.5 hours seems like a short walk in the park considering we had done 5-7 hours of training the past three days.

Had to hit the road by 11, but I needed to stop and get one last section of one of my favorite parts of the course. This just shows what the atmosphere looked like all weekend.

Got home and Coach had written us all a thank you email for jobs well done and positive attitudes. I responded with:

"That was a GREAT camp! I came away smiling and super confident in abilities I didn't know I had in me. Prior to camp, did I believe I could ride 230 miles in 3 days including the hilliest 75 miles of my life plus 36 miles of running + 10,000 yards of swimming over 4 days? NOPE! But now I know I can. So thank you for bringing that out in me."

Total weekly volume: 12,152 yards swam, 247.62 miles biked, 43.21 miles ran. 25 hours of training.

THIS is what training for an Ironman looks like!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Verbal Vomit and Some Input Needed!

A lot going on, so I will just verbally vomit it all out.

Speaking of vomit, I watched the cat throw up the biggest hairball on the bathroom floor this morning. Gross, I KNOW! Poor guy. He means well! He just rides the short bus to school.

And speaking of cats! There is a freaking mountain lion on the loose! YES, a MOUNTAIN LION. We don't have mountain lions up here. On my ride last night, there was a new sign posted. Yeah, I got uber paranoid and picked it up a notch.

If I see a mountain lion while out riding or running, this will bring my tally up a bit of strange animals running out in front of me while riding. Let's see, I have had a black bear come out in front of me, a dog bit me, multiple dogs try to bite me, a crawfish, lots of deer, and I think there was a Moose on the side of the road up in Waterville, NH.

I work in the middle of nowhere in Northern Greenwich, CT. Sorry, folks but all of the uber rich Hedge Fund Managers work 25 mins away in downtown Greenwich.

However! A plane crashed a half mile from the office, setting the woods on fire. The county airport is 1 mile away from my office.

So between crashing planes and wild mountain lions and me riding and working in the middle of nowhere, I am convinced there is no safe place to ride.

Speaking of places to ride (haha! I could do this all day) I am heading up to Lake Placid for 5 days. Yeeeesssssss!!!! This is for my Coach's annual training camp.

He is withholding the entire itineray to keep us guessing, but he has told us what is going on on Day #1:
2 hour trail run (bring an extra pair of shoes and towel)
Swim (prolly the LP course)
1 loop of the bike course.

Soooooo, a broken Half Ironman day 1? Oh brother....

I have a feeling I am going to be riding 200 miles and running a few marathons and swimming a few lakes over the next 5 days. Should be fun!

Finally, been spamming everyone on Twitter, but I will try here as well. (and Thank You! to those who have already responded)

What did you do with the pair of shoes you ran your first marathon in?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Got My A$$ Handed to Me, and It Was A Good Thing.

I had my first real "failed" workout this year. I call it failed because compared to every workout or race I have done so far this year, I have never ever had to stop because my legs would go no further. I had the energy; I wasn't overly thirsty. My legs were just DONE. How done? Well the areas of my legs circled in green below is where they were DONE.

I am kinda torn right now. Did my legs stop because A) They were shot? or B) Did they cramp up? The only muscle "cramp" that I have ever experienced has been in my calves. It has happened once in the pool, a few times on the trainer, and a few times in the middle of the night. Don't you hate it when that happens? I don't know what a quad cramp feels like. I for sure know what spent quads muscles feel like.

So let's play "solve this crime."

Here is the evidence:
  • I rode for 4 hours.
  • Then I ran for 2 hours.
  • On the bike I had 100 oz of liquid, 80 of which was Infit with approximately the same amount of electrolytes as gatorade.
  • On the bike I consumed 7 Gus + 300 calories from the infinit = 1,000 calories total
  • Wasn't ever hungry on bike and had to force down a Gu a few times because I just wasn't hungry
  • It was 85 degrees and bright and sunny on the run. Large sections had no shade.
  • was never hungry on the run
  • I felt like an ant under a microscope due to the sun
  • After 1 hour I got back to my car and considered quitting
  • the 2nd hour was prolly the most painful hour of my life

So which is it? From my experience, it felt like my legs were just taxed and done. But can a muscle cramp feel the same as shot legs? Ooooorrrr, did the heat just zap my entire body? I ran a 1:47:37 down in the Galveston HIM in April in similar conditions (85 + 100% humidity and sun) and went a LOT harder on the bike. So the heat will zap me, but has never brought me to a complete halt.

When I finally got back to my car, I didn't feel right....I didn't feel human. A little humor always helps! So I tweeted:

Droopy eyelid, anyone?
I looked like shit and felt like shit. So I tweeted again.

So instead of dwelling on this forever and letting it eat away at my soul, I am going to look at the positive of this instead. IT PUT ME BACK IN MY PLACE!

I texted my coach about what happened, and he responded with:
"It was humid and u have been hittin it hard - chalk it up as an off day Jon and don't weight it too heavy."

See, last weekend I felt like Superman. My confidence was WAY too high and I was starting to think this whole Ironman training thing was a walk in the park. Boy did I go negative in the Karma points department! I lost respect for this distance and it came back and smashed me in the face with an aluminum baseball bat.

It made me scared again, which I think is a good thing. It will make me hold back and respect the Marathon.

Speaking of Lake Placid, I will be up there for 5 days starting Wednesday! This is my coach's annual training camp. Rule #1: CHECK THAT EGO AT THE DOOR!!!

So stay tuned for some Lake Placid reports. Word on the street is that we are climbing Whiteface (on the bike). Bring it! (and I expect to have my A$$ handed to me again)

Afterall, I AM training for a FUCKING IRONMAN!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Triathlon Future is in.......Drum Roll Please!!!!


I plan to invade that country like John Candy invaded it in Canadian Bacon. (Don't worry, I'll bring back my trash).


But really, my future in triathlon is in Ironman. Yep, I will going long again, only this time 14 months from now in Mont Treblant, Quebec at the inaugral Ironman Mont Tremblant.

But didn't I say I wanted to "refocus" on the shorter distances? Fortunately a quick email to my coach solved the issue. I told him, "I like the long distances, but I also like the short distances. What can I do about it?" His response:

"There is a misconception out there that you either need to train for short course races or Ironmans. I don’t know how this began, but it is possible to do both well. Many feel that you lose your speed when training for an IM, but that is only if you just train long and slow. This Mont Tremblant Ironman, to me, looks more interesting than the NYC IM

My thoughts are that you are young and single. Your life is only going to get more and more busy in the coming years. Do these things now while you can put in a solid dose of time. You can still do them as you do get busier, but now is your time to see what you can do from a performance standpoint. I do know that you will want to sign up for another IM after doing LP. First, you will, like all triathletes, overanalyze your race to death thinking about where and when you could have been faster. Then, you will miss that super goal, and that feeling of accomplishment and peak fitness.

I did my first IM in 96’ – the goal was to do one and then move on. Look how that’s worked out for me." [He has done Kona 7 or 8 times and won his AG @ Placid in 2000]

And this, folks, is why I have a coach! Especially one who can see through the fog. At Ridgefield the other weekend, the speed was there, even though I wasn't specifically training for that kind of intensity. So I hope to mix in some more sprints next season! The recovery time from them is minuscule compared to a HIM and yet you can still get in the S/B/R. I could go on an hour long rant as to why doing a HIM leading up to an Ironman is not necessary and should be avoided. Another post....

So back to Mont Tremblant, there is gonna be a CREW of fun folks heading up. I think the partying is gonna be WAY more fun than the race!

Here is the current roll call:
Mandy @ Caratunk Girl
cdnhollywood @ Newbie Triathlete - 2011 Edition
Kristin @ Lazy Marathoner
Jeff @ DangleTheCarrot
Kevin @ IronmanByThirty
CouplaHounds @ A Long Road

Not racing it? Come on up to cheer! There are 1700 rooms at the resort alone. I hear the spouses/significant others have spa days planned. I am heading up this Fall (by myself if I have to!) to recon the courses and most importantly, recon the bars and restaurants.

 Kevin @ IronmanByThirty put together an AWESOME post describing the route and process of getting in and bit about the town. Read about it HERE. CouplaHounds @ A Long Road also put together a post WITH VIDEO! of parts of the course. Read about it HERE.

If you do come up to race or spectate, and in case you don't speak a lick of French, these four simple phrases will keep you happy at any watering hole establishment. (I'll let you figure out the translation) ;)
  • Une biere pression, s'il vous plaît
  • Une verre du vin rouge
  • Une verre du vin blanc
  • Une verre du vin rose 

Finally, since we are talking about the future here, might as well mention the past to the present to get all of the tenses in here. I finally received my 5 year plaque for service at my current job. Soooo, it too only 6 months to get made, but better late than never! With 4 movies made (Ice Age 2, Horton Hears a Who, Ice Age 3, Rio!) and two more on the way (Ice Age 4, Leafmen), I'd say I have done quite a bit over the past 5.5 years since I have been here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In case you wanted to know what training for an Ironman looks like

Put up some big #'s this past weekend making this the biggest weekend yet. Physically I got it all done, but I had many mental checkouts and almost-giveups along the way.

I have developed a mantra to keep me in the game.


Round #1 was Friday at the pool. On tap was a 4K swim. 3K in have to use the bathroom. Got out of the pool and went, "Eh, you are 3K in, what's another 1K? I'll just stop now."


Bathroom. Pool. 1K more yards. DONE.

Saturday was 5 hours on the bike followed by a 1 hour run. It was gonna be a loooooooong day. This is kinda funny. I drove 20 mins to my ride start, opened up the trunk and my bike wasn't there. DOH! 40 mins later I was back at the same spot, but WITH the bike in hand! Mad at myself for that one, but laughed it off.

I went with 2, 2.5 hour loops so that I could practice my special needs. I am a BIG fan of mimicking race conditions in training. Lake Placid is a 2 loop course, so why not practice it with a 2 loop training ride. This also helps with refueling. I can carry 2.5 hours of liquid and fuel on me without packing the weight of a house! LOL!

First loop I felt strong and prolly burned a match. Oops! I paid for it on the 2nd loop, as usual.

After loop #1, I practiced my special needs:
Refill liquids
Refill Gu and EFS
Down a generic brand chocolate Ensure.

Side note. Not sure if you have ever seen these in most grocery stores and convenience stores, but they all sell "Nutrional PLUS" drinks. They are generic brand Ensure drinks. I like them better than the actual Ensure brand because the chocolate flavor isn't as harsh, but it still packs a punch. 350 easy calories! I am for sure putting one in my special needs bag on the bike. It gets lots of calories into me quickly, tastes great, and makes me feel human again, especially since I will have another 3 hours of riding to do.

Off for loop #2.....

With 30-ish minutes left, I could NOT stay in the aero position any longer. My butt couldn't take it any more! I felt like utter poo getting off the bike and my inner quads were just spent. I said to myself, "I hate my life!" Gonna be an interesting run....

Wound up with 97.75 miles in 5 hours. 19.5 mph average. WILL TAKE THAT!!!

Sure enough I start running and I am flying! This was the most SOLID 1 hour run of my life. Trust me, I was hurting by the end, but I felt utterly CONSISTENT. There were no slow downs or speed ups, just constant. I felt like the Juggernaut ;) 1 hour later and 7.63 miles @ a 7:52 pace, I was spent but felt VERY confident in my current state.

Since I was only 2.25 miles away from riding 100 for the day, I hopped back onto the bike and slowly churning out the 2.25 miles. Mission accomplished! Couldn't let that slip by ;)

Sunday was a MUCH different story. I went from a fast Saturday to an uber UBER slow Sunday. Worked HARD for a 9:12 pace over a 60 min run, then I hopped back onto the bike for another 2.5 hours for an easy easy spin that just hurt hurt HURT! Had lots of "just quit now" moments. But I constantly reminded myself with:


The good news is that my butt isn't chafed, its just sore from sitting on it for 7.5 hours over two days. I don't know HOW those pros do it!

The final round was this morning's 2.5 hour run. The big Q was I recovered from Saturday and Sunday's efforts? Turns out the easy but lots of volume on Sunday flushed the crap out of my legs, and then resting them on Monday got the legs to about 90% good to go.

Wound up with a new distance PR of 17.31 miles AND I negative split the run. 8:52 out (going net downhill) to 8:28 back (going net uphill) all while holding the same heart rate. BLAMMO!!!

Stay tuned for a BIG announcement in my next post. Some of you already know what it is, but its gonna be FUN!

Hint: "Parlez Vous Du Fromage?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Future In Triathlon. What is yours?

While this entire season is focused around one single main goal, Lake Placid, I had an opportunity this past weekend to get back to my roots of triathlon: The Sprint Distance. On the broad spectrum of Triathlon, the Sprint and the Ironman are polar opposites. One is low intensity, but lots of it. The other is go as hard as you can and it is over before you know it.

The other thing that I realized is that this is my fourth season of triathlon and I am basically wrapping the season by completing an Ironman. The Ironman, in distance, seems to be the pinnacle of the sport (NOT gonna mention the UltraIronman distances!!!!)

So let's see here, forth year, pinnacle achievement. Sounds like a graduation, no?

So let's say that I "graduate", what is next? What is the next peak to climb? Does there have to be another peak to climb? How about refocusing somewhere in the spectrum of the sport now that I have experienced all of the distances?

THIS is what I have been thinking about a lot. Refocusing. I have gone long now for two years. I did 4 Half Ironman races last year alone! The long weekends of training are taxing. Heck, they are only getting worse for the next 4 weeks! Do you know what I have to do this weekend? Not gonna mention it. Its a LOT!

So I have been thinking about the shorter distances; the speed distances. Sprints and Olympics. Different animals than the Half Ironman and Ironman. You go fast, and that is about it. Its short. Its sweet. And it is rewarding. And after Ridgefield, I found some speed in my legs that I only dreamed about 4 years ago.

Of course, half way through the bike as my quads were locking up on me, I thought to myself, "You FUCKING IDIOT!!! You wanna endure this type of pain for an entire season?!?!" Trust me, the reward of a good finish makes you laugh at those moments. What is that quote? "Pain is temporary. Glory is forever?"
I'm really 5'7". BUT! Even shorties have speed! And thanks to Kevin for helping me find these.
 But then of course I caught wind of a few new Ironman distance races just announced in my approximate area. Ironman NYC (uh, I mean Ironman NJ, uh, I mean Iroman Northern NJ-but-finishines-on-81st-street-after-party-at-Reginas) and an even cooler race, Ironman Mont Tremblant up in Quebec. Just look @ this picture of the town!

How would you NOT want to race there! Yeah, its another hilly course, but waaaay better than racing outside of NYC in the middle of August. Actually, compared to Lake Placid, its a lot tamer. Maybe it has some shorter but steeper sections, but overall, its not as bad. Just look!

Click for Full Size
The Blue Line is Lake Placid's Elevation. The red is Mont Tremblant's. Green is Sea level. Not 100% on the elevation #'s, but the lines ARE normalized are true to each other. Regardless, Lake Placid is 1.3X's hillier than Mont Tremblant. AND! Some cool folks might be doing it, right Kevin, Jeff, Mandy, Beth?

So this has gotten me thinking about going long again next season. I have made myself hold off from signing up for another Ironman until I have completed my first. Only problem is is that Mont Tremblant's signup is on June 15th and could sell out quickly, leaving me behind. Placid is July 24th. Decisions decisions!!!

Have you thought about your future in endurance sports? Any big plans in the next year or two?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rev3 Spectating Report

After my "best race of my life" Sunday morning, I hit the road for 35 minutes and drove up to Quassy, CT to spectate some super awesome blogger buddies @ the Rev3 70.3. Mandy @ CaratunkGirl, Jill @ Simply Tri, and Jason @ Tech-Tri were all racing and did super awesome jobs!!! All three also happen to be racing Ironman Lake Placid with me in a few weeks. Gonna be great!

Had to park at the shuttle lot, but I rode my bike a few miles to where I got to the intersection where the bike in, run out, and mile 9 all convene. GREAT spectator spot! Also, the finish was 100 yards away, so this was the PERFECT place to get everyone at different points without scrambling too fast. After all, I just knocked the shit out of a race, so I was surprised at how much energy I had left to spectate. I guess the energy of the race propped me up?

So as I was riding over, I passed the lead pro women (I JUST missed Mirinda Carfrae) but saw Heather Jackson in 5th. Upon arrival to the intersection, lots of folks were riding in. Not too much later here comes Jason! I couldn't get my camera out in time. Its HARD to tell who is who, but I did catch him on the run out and was able to get his attention.

A little bit later Jill strolls by. She was easier to find since I knew her Jersey and I asked her a day before what she was wearing. Also, her kickass pink camo Roo is a one of a kind bike and hard to miss. Caught her easily on the run out.

Now came Mandy. I saw her, knew it was her bike, her jersey, but I couldn't recognize her face! It was her! But easily got her on the run out.

Now that everyone was out on the run, I got out my phone, found updated times and started calculating when folks would be arriving on the run @ mile 9. You all were right on time! And spaced out just enough that I could bounce between the finish and mile 9 to catch you all 4 times!

Caught Jason @ mile 9

Caught Jill @ mile 9

Caught Jason @ the finish. This video is priceless and shows why Rev3 has a good thing going!

Caught Mandy @ mile 9. "Who is my favorite person?!?!?!"

Caught Jill @ the finish, hung around with her and her boyfriend, Simon, for a few minutes. Also found Jason and chatted with him. Everyone one was tired! They worked hard!

Caught Mandy @ the finish.

And I was cooked! Fortunately I wasn't running miles upon miles to bounce between the finish and mile 9. It was all right there. Chatted with Mandy and her Mom for a bit. Mandy wasn't hungry! I was so worried that I was keeping her from eating. But we all know Mandy, she doesn't need to eat. She fuels herself with laughter!

I'm really 6'7" ;) ...right Mandy?
Soooooo, if you need a personal videographer and one man cheering band come race day. You know who to ask! My fee is food :)

Stay tuned for my next post, My Future In Triathlon. Pretty daunting, eh?

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tri Ridgefield Sprint Race Report; I won my Age Group!

Today was simply a great day. Some people might scoff at a sprint distance race, but I am telling you, they hurt a LOT more than a Half Ironman. Why? Because a sprint is just that: a sprint from beginning to end! If you aren't redlining it, you aren't going hard enough!

Well, in time that is what should be done, but I certainly wasn't doing this at my first sprint race, which happened to be exactly 3 years ago. I still remember just surviving the swim, having a fun bike, then wanting to just be able to run the entire run without needing to walk. Finishing was the goal that day. I was a different athlete back then!

Back to today, the weather was perfect! Low 60's and NO humidity. Just perfect. I also won my age group today! It was a REALLY great day!

So here we go:

Overall Time: 1:10:48, 17th/364 overall (top 5%!!!), 1st/19 in age group.

Pre Race:
The shorter the race, the longer the warmup. Get it? Race started @ 7AM, so I made sure to get in a 2 mile easy easy run, then a 10-15 min swim and arm stretch to get as loose as I could. This race was going to hurt no matter what, so whatever the warmup did, I guess helped?

Swim, 880 yards: 13:24 / 1:31 avg
They lumped all males 44 and under into one swim wave. Out of 300 or so folks, that is one HUGE swim wave. Well, time to put on the big boy pants and realize that I will be sharing a small pool with 3,000 of my newest closests friends at Lake Placid, so what did I do? I lined myself up directly in front and to the right. Basically I made sure I got mowed over and kicked and punched. It was awesome!!!

The swim itself thinned out by the first turn and it was just autopilot from there on. Because of the huge swim wave that was mixed with all ages, it was impossible to tell who was who.

T1: 2:03
Proportionally to your overall time in a sprint, your transitions actually make a difference. I am a terrible TERRIBLE transitioner. In a sprint, to do it right, you gotta have your shoes on the bike. Me? Nope. Wetsuit removal? Oh yeah, I am a spoiled little princess and I have had my suit stripped off of me at the past 5 races. Fortunately I remember how to do it myself ;) Unfortunately my cappucino machine was broken on my bike :(.....bad joke, I know.

Bike: 12.5 miles, 34:00, 22:08 mph avg
This HURT. Because the water basically ices your legs and the fact that you are gunning it from the get go, there is no time for the blood to get into your quads, so they basically seized up from the get go. Sooooo, I pushed through the pain and it hurt even more :)

Eventually there was nobody in front of me, nor behind me. Was this a good thing? I guess. I knew I passed some folks in my age group, but there was no way to know if some fish who could also bike was ahead of me. I didn't worry about it and just hammered it home. Turns out I wound up passing 3 or 4 others in my age group early on and put in the fastest bike split for my age group.

T2: 1:18
Remember how I am a terrible transitioner? The way to do it right is to remove your shoes on the bike and do a flying dismount. I know how to do this! I just haven't practiced this in 2 years. Bummer. Also, I should have not worn socks on the run and had shoes with Yanks style laces. Time saved in transitions is money in the bank. Overall, I really didn't care since Lake Placid is the big picture this season and transition times are meaningless. But it is still good to know there are other things to improve.

Run: 3 miles, 20:05, 6:41 pace
The first 1.5 miles of this run course is all uphill. It blows and it HURTS. Good thing everyone has to do these same 1.5 miles of uphill. I survived as best I could, elevated my heart rate to ridiculous, and hung on until the half way point when you go back down hill. I hit the gas on the downhill and hung on for dear life.

Around mile 2, I passed my buddy, Rudy, who is a Lance Armstrong clone on the bike, who passed everyone including three elites from the first wave. When I passed him he said that there was only one guy in front of me who was under 30. What I heard was, "You are winning your age group!"

THAT went straight to my head and I picked up the tempo even more. I never looked back to see if anyone was right behind me, I just kept looking forward and just gunned it as hard as I could. I actually elevated my heart rate running downhill!

Post race:
Crossed the line in 1:10:48, ~6 minutes faster than two years ago (told yah I was a different athlete back then!). When Rudy caught back up to me, he said, "Yeah, there was one other guy in front of you who was under 30." DAMN!!!! So I (im)patiently waited for them to post the results. I found my name, 20th overall, and then 1/19. WHAT?!?!?!? SWEET!....guess there wasn't another under 30 guy afterall? Or it was part of a relay?

So the race turned out like this: I was in 4th or so coming out of the water, I tracked them down early in the bike, and it was game over from there. See kids, its fun data-picking the results!

So it was a good day! Got not only my first podium, but also my first big W all at the same time!...actually its the first race I have EVER took first place in in in my whole life. And one final braggadocio (since this might be the only time I ever win a race since I am age grouping up to the uber competitive M30-34 next year): Apparently they take the top 20 from the previous year and stick them into the 'elite' wave for the next year. Daunting? YEP! I gotta get a LOT faster!!!! (more on this in a future post about my future in triathlon)

I'd like to thank Heinz
After the race, I treated myself to a McDonald's breakfast and hit the road for Quassy, CT to spectate for some awesome people @ Rev3. Stay tuned for my spectator report!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

I'll Be Your One Man Cheering Band

The first weekend in June is traditionally a HUGE racing weekend. I'd say in the Northeast especially, this is the official kickoff weekend for Triathlon. The Lakes are finally unfrozen AND warm enough to swim in (usually with a wetsuit).

So, are YOU racing this weekend?

I am! I am doing the Tri Ridgefield Sprint up in Ridgefield, CT. The last time I did a sprint was exactly two years ago and it was this race. Kind of hard to believe that I haven't done a sprint in two years! My time from two years ago was a 1:16:39, so it is a very short race.

Which means!!!!

That after a quick bite to eat and a quick stretch I am hitting the road for Quassy to spectate Rev3! With little traffic, I can get there in 35-40 minutes, which should hopefully get me there when folks are still out on the bike. I plan to be a one man cheering band for Mandy @ Caratunk Girl, Jill @ Simply Tri, and Jason @ Tech-Tri. I also plan to ask Mirinda Carfrae to marry me then ask Terenzo Bozzone to be my best man at the wedding. I think I should get two yesses, right?

I plan to bring plenty of water, a camping chair, and food, and cheer my heart out!

Good luck to anyone racing and have a safe and fun weekend!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nipping this Soreness in the Bud

I am not calling this an injury.....yet, but I have never felt my knees feel so sore like this before. How is it that a 28 year old perfectly healthy male can't bend down to lift a pot off the ground without bracing for something to himself back up? HOW?!?!? Are my knees going to suddenly self destruct the day I turn 30?!?!?

A few weeks ago it got bad, so I took an ice bath and I thought I was cured.

Then the training went ballistic-nuts-high-volume and the ice baths stopped working. One day I was crippled to hardly being able to run to being able to run, then back to crippled. This morning I couldn't put any power into the pedals even in the easiest gear because of the strain is was putting on my knees. I held a 14.27 mph avg. WTF?!?!? Biking is low impact on the knees I thought!!!

So enough crying. Enough whining. I am through with feeling sorry for myself with sore knees. I HAVE AN IRONMAN TO DO!!!!

So I went to the experts to get this taken care of. I call her "The Elbow" because she has a habit of sticking her extremely sharp elbow into my IT band and then rolling it. It hurts like nothing else but IT WORKS!

Tonight's diagnosis? It is not anything inside the knee itself that is causing the knee pain, it is everything surrounding the knee that is causing the pain. Basically my knee cap (the patella) wants to move up when I bend the knee. It should stay down. So by relieving the tightness of the material surrounding the knee cap, it can relax and stay down like it should, relieving the pain.

Sounds easy, right? It does, but OMG it is PAINFUL!!!

Lemme show you:

See all of the white material that is surrounding the knee cap? The stuff does not stretch, but it can be loosened up. Because it is so tight, it pulls on the knee cap. Loosening it up relieves the pain. How do you loosen it? Well, for starters, an elbow of forearm brushing up against it will do the trick.

Let's just say that when "The Elbow" first assessed how tight this area was she said, "Oh, this is gonna be fun."

Translation, "I am going to make you cry like a little five year old girl!!!"

She also asked, "Do you need a bullet or a stick to bite down on?"

This area also happens to be the most sensitive area in the body to massage. AND! The more in shape you are, the tighter everything in this area gets. Translation, IT HURTS MORE!!!

So after a lot of screaming and thinking I was going to die, she worked out a lot of the tightness and I was able to bend down and come back up with no knee pain. It was not fun. It never was.

For homework, more stretching, more foam rolling, and using a tennis ball to massage directly into that area. She even suggested taking a plastic hand weight with a knob end to massage in that area. Ouchy, right?

I go back in two weeks, and I am wearing my heart rate monitor. Should be interesting....

Fortunately! I have a rest week this week!